Recently I observed a woman trying to access a website without success. Frustrated because the site would not open, she pounded repeatedly on the “enter” key to no success. I imagine most of us have reached this level of frustration at times, only to have our efforts fail.
This reminded me of an adage I learned as a youth: “Never use force, just get a bigger hammer.” As I’ve aged (matured), I’ve learned that this is some of the worst guidance I’ve ever received.
My “bigger hammer” was not a physical tool, but all too frequently anger and even rage. My tool box was chock full of tools I could use when I felt I have been wronged in some manner. I became extremely adept at using these tools to strike out, strike back or strike down.
Very recently I encountered a situation that tempted me to reach into that destructive tool box. I felt betrayed by hypocrisy and deceit by friends or just plain failure to adequately communicate. I found myself reaching for that “bigger hammer.” It would have been very easy for me to bring division and dissension to a very large group. Yes, the temptation was powerful.
As any handyman knows, it’s not having the biggest tool, but the right tool to get something done right. So the first tool I selected was prayer. Instead of yielding the hammer, I swallowed my pride and squelched my anger and hurt. I looked at the bigger picture and the impact things could have on others. I opted for “turning the other cheek.” I also recognized that these situations were in many ways of my own doing.
This was not an easy decision. It will result in some major changes in my life. I changes the ways in which I will interact with people and my willingness to trust. It will alter how I express (agape) love.
What it will not alter is my devotion to fulfilling the Great Commission.
Alive in the Word